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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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O'Loghlen, John Henry Patrick Francis (Frank) (1892–1964)

by G. P. Walsh

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

John Henry Patrick Francis (Frank) O'Loghlen (c.1892-1964), rural and sporting writer, was born about 1892 at Bendigo, Victoria, eldest child of Victorian-born parents Michael Henry O'Loghlen, butcher, and his wife Susannah, née McMahon. Frank was raised on the family's dairy farm. After leaving primary school, he held various jobs, from rouseabout to trade-union representative. His interest in beef cattle began in New South Wales in 1911 when he encountered a large mob of Herefords on the Deniliquin-Finley road on his way to Tuppal station. He turned down a droving position with the mob as he wanted the 30 shillings a week as a 'rousie' at Tuppal station to earn enough to 'go back to Bendigo—and to night school'. Following a short stint in the local branch of the Bank of Victoria, he joined the staff of the Bendigo Independent in 1914. He then worked on newspapers at Bathurst and Dubbo in New South Wales. At St Michael and St John's Catholic Cathedral, Bathurst, on 29 August 1919 he married Irene May Michelsen.

On 3 April 1926 O'Loghlen joined the Sydney staff of Country Life and Stock and Station Journal as a sub-editor; he was editor from 1 April 1942 until he retired in 1960. As 'Eurythmic', he produced authoritative articles on racing and horse-breeding; he also wrote on Rugby League and Union football for the Daily Mail and Sunday newspapers. He had a deep knowledge of breeding and bloodstock pedigrees. Although a keen follower of the turf, he was only a modest better, specializing in quinellas, which he won with great regularity. In 1945 he published Champions of the Turf, a book about Australian thoroughbreds.

O'Loghlen was the confidant of politicians and industry leaders. He made several tours to Britain and the United States of America in the interests of Australian stud stock. In 1954 he went to Britain to ascertain why that country was 'the stud farm of the world'. He interviewed studmasters 'from Cornwall to Inverness, from East Anglia to Hereford' and attended the famous Smithfield Show at Earls Court, London. On his return he wrote: 'Of all theories and practices that impressed me, line-breeding stood out pre-eminently. I have always thought it a sine quo [sic] non of good breeding, but have recognised that it must be done with discretion and judgment'. For fourteen years he travelled around Australia in the interest of the cattle industry with his friend and business associate Frank Johnston. Honorary editor for the Australian Poll Hereford Society, O'Loghlen published the highly regarded Beef Cattle in Australia (1948, second edition 1956) and, with Johnston, co-edited Cattle Country (1960). He also wrote an unpublished novel, 'The Vet's Victory'.

Forthright, energetic and intolerant of slackers, 'Old Frank' was well liked and respected for the professional advice he gave freely to many in the cattle industry: he made Country Life a leading stud-stock journal. Survived by his wife and three daughters, he died on 20 May 1964 at Roseville and was buried in Northern Suburbs cemetery. His only son Patrick had been killed in action over Italy in 1943 while serving with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Select Bibliography

  • Country Life, 26 Aug 1960, 22 May 1964
  • Bulletin, 10 Sept 1960
  • Meat Industry Bulletin, 7, June 1964
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 22 May 1964
  • F. O'Loghlen, literary manuscripts and notes (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'O'Loghlen, John Henry Patrick Francis (Frank) (1892–1964)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 31 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

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